When Scott Suskovic returned from a church trip to the Holy Land two years ago, the pastor realized that many in his congregation knew Bible stories but didn’t know biblical chronology and history. So he and the staff of Christ Lutheran, Charlotte, N.C., set out to identify 46 top stories from Scripture for a sermon series (during the school year) that walked the congregation through the Bible.
Suskovic called the series “Connect the Dots.” As it progressed, the series expanded: Sunday worship grew to daily devotionals via email, discussion groups and Bible studies. But even as the series evolved, the congregation looked for another way to cement their learning.
Enter Stephanie Burke, a staff member and artist, who had the idea to tap into the congregation’s artistic talents by asking them to create original art pieces for every story they studied in the Bible.
“We have a lot of talented people, and we wanted to bring forth their talent in the worship setting,” Burke said. “After a few meetings, we realized the idea had taken hold. Now we have a huge art gallery depicting different stories in the Bible chronologically.”
“Huge” is almost an understatement. Christ Lutheran, with more than 3,000 members, now houses 46 art pieces created by more than 57 artists, ranging from amateurs to professionals and using many artistic mediums. All ages participated, with a 12-year-old depicting the baptism of Jesus and a 78-year-old’s art that shows the church rising from the desert.
By the time the congregation was halfway through the 46-week sermon series, there was a waiting list of people signing up to complete the art pieces. “To my knowledge it is the only such gallery in the U.S.,” Burke said.
Each piece of art reflects the variety of interests and talents of those involved: quilts, sculptures, metal and wood pieces, paintings, sketches, photographs and more.
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© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers